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Walden Magazine // Sep 01, 2011

Commitment to Social Change Scholarship Recipients Announced

September 2011—In June 2011, Walden University awarded several incoming graduate students the Commitment to Social Change Scholarship. This scholarship recognizes the social change contributions the recipients have already made in their respective fields and ensures they will continue to do more of the same as they work toward their Walden degree.
The next application deadline is Oct. 1, 2011. Read the application criteria.

This doctoral student received $25,000:

Recipient: Dr. Miriam Nanyunja
Hometown: Kampala, Uganda
Title: National program officer and leader of the Disease Prevention and Control Cluster for the World Health Organization in Kampala, Uganda
Program: PhD in Public Health

Social Change Achievement: Soon after graduation from medical school in 1998, Dr. Miriam Nanyunja became an advocate for HIV/AIDS patients while running a clinic at the AIDS Support Organization in Entebbe, Uganda. In addition to her work as a general practitioner, she treats and counsels 70–100 patients a day. Her most impactful project concerns measles control in Uganda. Prior to 2001, measles was a major cause of illness and death in Ugandan children. Nanyunja led a team that conducted an evaluation of the impact of a measles control strategy from 1999–2001 that included mass immunization of all children from 6 months to 4 years old. As a result of her participation in the project, her team recommended a nationwide mass measles vaccination campaign targeting all children from 6 months to 14 years old, which was successfully adopted in 2002.

Social Change Goal: Become an evidence-based, high-quality epidemiologist and public health practitioner as well as a leader in the public health field at both national and international levels.

These doctoral students received $5,000 each:

Recipient: Dorrett Campbell
Hometown: Georgetown, Guyana
Title: Communications officer at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat in Guyana
Program: PhD in Education

Social Change Achievement: At the age of 16, Dorrett Campbell co-founded the Sangster Heights Youth Club in the rural town of Chapelton, Clarendon, Jamaica, to mobilize and engage youth in activities that would improve their welfare and contribute to community development. She was also actively involved in adult literacy programs through the Jamaica Movement for the Advancement of Literacy and a local church. Through her work as the secretary-general for the Young Professional Caucus of the People’s National Party, she launched a national advocacy movement titled “AIDS at Your Doorstep” to create an awareness of the virus and to promote anti-discrimination messages. She has also launched projects to reduce chronic noncommunicable diseases, improve the resources available to children and adolescents and to create awareness of climate change in the Caribbean region.

Social Change Goal: Formulate and implement education policies to advance the development agenda of the Caribbean region.

Recipient: Dr. Hyacinth Idu Hyacinth
Hometown: Atlanta
Title: Post-doctoral fellow at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga.
Program: PhD in Public Health

Social Change Achievement: Dr. Hyacinth Idu Hyacinth has been involved in medical outreach missions as a member of nonprofit organizations since he was a medical student. He has worked both as a surgeon’s assistant and as a surgeon on trips to Nigeria through the Nigerian Conference of Christian Medical and Dental Students and Pro-Health International Africa. He currently volunteers as a surgeon through Heart Aid, which enlists clients to sponsor children with structural heart defects for heart surgery outside Nigeria, as this service is not available there. In 2008, Heart Aid launched a mission to raise money to build a cardiac center in Nigeria that would offer services for free or at minimal cost. To date, the organization has raised enough money to build a structure. Hyacinth is in the process of training as a pediatric cardio-thoracic surgeon so he can volunteer at this facility.

Social Change Goal: Continue to provide free or low-cost medical intervention for minority groups through humanitarian medical missions to developing countries and to be an advocate for children with structural heart defects.

Recipient: Jodi Tobias
Hometown: Indianapolis, Ind.
Title: Program director at the Indiana State Department of Health
Program: PhD in Human Services

Social Change Achievement: Jodi Tobias started her work as a volunteer at a domestic violence shelter after her own personal experiences with homelessness. She assisted the shelter’s management through fundraising, donations and writing operational documents, including the tenant handbook and the management handbook for a 26-apartment unit. The former is still being used more than 15 years later and the latter is used as a national example for other projects. After a stint as an executive director of a rural shelter in Indiana, she accepted a position to manage a statewide research project, which involves interviewing HIV-positive patients and conducting medical record abstractions. She is also a foster parent who specializes in helping teenagers with special needs.

Social Change Goal: Operate Juno House Inc., an agency that will help teenagers in the foster care system become productive adults.

These master’s students received $2,500 each:

Recipient: Christina Logan
Hometown: Miami Beach, Fla.
Title: Registered nurse at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla.
Program: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Social Change Achievement: Christina Logan was working as a nurse in the Marshall Islands when a catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 10, 2010. Within a month’s time, she relocated to Miami to join the University of Miami and Project Medishare’s earthquake relief team. During her first two missions to Haiti, she worked as a trauma nurse around the clock with minimal supplies. During her third mission, she helped refocus the team’s efforts on long-term sustainability and care by training local staff members and helping to establish a locally run facility.

Social Change Goal: Assist in the creation of medical facilities, develop teaching programs, educate the public and spread the message of service and social change on an international scale.

Recipient: Romesa Vernon
Hometown: Arcadia, La.
Title: Director of youth services for the Springville Missionary & Education Association in Gibsland, La.
Program: MS in Mental Health Counseling

Social Change Achievement: Romesa Vernon has worked as a mentor to high school students through a program organized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2000. As an inaugural member of this program, she presents topics to incoming freshman, attends graduate institutes and helps the organization grow by voicing opinions and mentoring students. As the director of youth services for the Springville Missionary & Education Association, Vernon teaches Sunday school, recruits youth to volunteer and raises funds for the organization. She also plans to launch quarterly lessons on self-improvement, participation in the community and the art of volunteering.

Social Change Goal: Help individuals to think critically and give them a positive outlook on life to learn how to assist others within their community.